February 5, 2013

SB 471: The Oregon Legislature's Bi-Partisan Attack On PERS Recipients

This is the first actual bill in the Oregon Legislature that attacks PERS recipients (present and future). It is only one of many ideas Governor Kitzhaber has proposed in his budget to attack those of us who are already living on fixed incomes.
  
This bill was introduced by two Democrats..Ginny Burdick (Tigard) and Jeff Barker (Aloha).  The issue of cutting someone's fixed income based on retirees daring to move out of Oregon always seemed a draconian approach. How dare a retiree go and pay state taxes elsewhere.  Surely enforced loyalty to that State which has treated you so well will now be demanded or we will cut your livelihood.  

The reality is that the reasons people leave Oregon are as varied as the individuals. From people I know it is to take care of an aging parent, for specialized medical care or these days to live with relatives because they cannot afford to maintain a home or are no longer able to live without someone to assist with their activities of daily living but they have relatives who are willing to help out.

But even if one were to say, "so what" Oregon needs your taxes. The process or non-process of determining who will have their fixed income cut illustrates that this is just another punitive attack on PERS recipients. Maybe even an opportunity for some Democrats saying to Republicans, "See we hate them, too".

In this bill it will be up to the retiree to "prove" (to ?) they paid Oregon Taxes. This reminds me of the old magazine subscription scam. They send you a letter and if you do not reply they will bill you for magazines you don't want.  You have to send something back saying you do not want the magazine. That way they get money from people who may have dumped it as junk mail, been in the hospital, moved or for some reason did not want to respond.  This was made illegal.  

So we have the Oregon Department of Revenue and we have PERS but to be punitive we are going to say that the retiree has to "prove" they paid Oregon taxes.  So if they are (oh, no) traveling outside the state but still paying state taxes or are receiving medical care or in a nursing home temporarily so that relatives can help take care of them and were not able to "prove" they are paying Oregon State taxes - even if the Oregon Department of Revenue has the information--  You get the idea.

This is what you call a foot in the door proposal. I am sure there are those who think, "Ah, we can sacrifice these people and then the anti-PERS beast will be satisfied and they won't move on to even more draconian measures.  We should know better (hello tiers 2, 3 etc).  This is why Local 001 (Retirees) says, "Hands Off PERS"..period.

Ann Montague
Vice President
SEIU 503, Sub Local 001 (Retirees)

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